To Prague with Love
A film by Ira Eduardovna
Curated by Sanna Almajedi
On View: March 10 – April 16, 2017
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 12-6pm
Location: Cuchifritos Gallery, 120 Essex Street NY, NY 10002 (inside Essex Street Market)
To Prague with Love is an attempt to hold on to a fleeting childhood memory. It is the quest of an adult, who lived in the Soviet Union as a child, to distinguish lies from the truth regarding issues suppressed by the dictatorial regime ruling the country. How much did the lies affect her thought processes? Did she believe them? Victoria, who was situated in Uzbekistan in the late 80s, while it was still a part of the Soviet Union, had a pen pal from Prague, Czechoslovakia, which was also under Communist rule. The letters went back and forth for over a year. Out of fear, Victoria praised living in the Soviet Union in her letters. She couldn’t reveal the reality behind the deteriorating political climate with which she and her family were struggling.
Victoria is the artist’s, Ira Eduardovna, sister. This desire to put a face on a memory took place when Eduardovna was an artist-in-residence in Prague. She placed an ad in a local newspaper looking for her sister’s old pen pal. Victoria does not possess the letters anymore as they have been lost due to immigration. All she has left is her memory of the letters. This touching search to restore a memory that lacks material proof is something that immigrants, and especially refugees experience. Refugees usually do not have the funds and opportunity to bring their possessions with them as they flee their country. In the case of the Eduardovna family, the Soviet Union did not allow them to bring the majority of their personal belongings with them when they left. People in this situation leave behind, not only their country but also the objects that lay the foundation of their memories.
While this work is about the life of a child under the oppressive Soviet regime, it also highlights some issues in the current political climate in the U.S. We seem to be living in a political era that resembles a hyperreal reality TV show where we are continuously dreading and guessing what’s to come. Politicians are also utilizing the truth to their benefit, leaving us confused and uncertain.
Eduardovna’s film is presented as part of the Workspace exhibition series, featuring the work of LES Studio Program artist-in-residents.
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Ira Eduardovna was born in Uzbekistan. She currently lives and works in NY. Eduardovna’s work reconstructs narratives of autobiographical nature and examines issues of migration and identity in flux through non-linear storytelling. Her video installations examine the border of video and architecture and the influence of architecture on the experience of time and memory. Awards include: Israel Lottery Council Grant for Culture and the Arts in 2016, New York State Council on the Arts grant for film and electronic media in 2015, The Ostrovsky Family Fund for experimental Film in 2012 and 2014 and Artis Exhibition Grant in 2012. Artist residencies include: LMCC workspace 2016-2017, LES Studio Program 2016, Smack Mellon Residency in New York 2014-2015, Art OMI – Omi International Art Center Ghent, NY 2014, FUTURA center for contemporary Art in Prague 2013, Wave Hill workspace studio program 2016. Selected Solo Exhibitions Include: “That.There.Then.” at Momenta Art Brooklyn, NY (2012) “The Library Room” at Braverman Gallery Tel Aviv (2012), “Mother”- FUTURA center for contemporary Art- Karlin Studios, Prague Czech Republic (2013) “Mother”- Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (2013) “Terminus” – Baruch College New Media Art Department Gallery (2013), “Mother” – Rosenberg Gallery, Hofstra University Art Gallery, Hempstead NY, “A thousand years” at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, VA (2015). Group shows include: Love at the edge: Galleria Arsenal Bialystok, Poland and in Oi Futuro Museum, Rio de Janeiro Brazil (Curator: Denise Carvalho and Monika Szewczyk) (2014-2015) “Beyond Limits – Post Global Biennial” in San Diego Art Institute in 2014 in conjunction with Mediations Biennial in Poznan (Curator: Denise Carvalho and Ginger Shulick), “Displaced Visions” in the Israel museum in Jerusalem 2013 (Curator: Nisan Peretz), “Signals” Bat Yam Museum of Contemporary Art in Israel 2010 (Curator: Danna Heller). She holds an MFA from Hunter College, New York since 2012.
Sanna Almajedi: I am an Iraqi-born independent curator, and I am currently a curatorial fellow at the School of Visual Arts. I have previously worked at Bold Tendencies in London, Ellen de Bruijne Gallery in Amsterdam, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. I have curated shows with artists Shana Moulton, LARAAJI, and Data Garden. I am also the co-director of Intelligent Instruments, a vinyl record label that focuses on new commissions and reissues of ambient music.
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is a program of Artists Alliance Inc., a 501c3 not for profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This program is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc for their continued support. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers and interns, without whom this program would not be possible. For more information, visit artistsallianceinc.org.